Pacific Islands

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Pacific Islands leaders, all members of the Pacific Islands Forum, at a meeting in Samoa with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (center), 26 July 2008

The Pacific Islands comprise 20,000 to 30,000 islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Three of the major groups of islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Most of the Pacific Islands lying south of the Tropic of Cancer are collectively referred to as Oceania,[1] although Oceania is sometimes defined as also including Australasia and the Malay Archipelago. These islands are traditionally grouped into the three divisions of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia:

The islands of Oceania are classified into two groups, high islands and low islands. Volcanoes form high islands, which generally can support more people and have a more fertile soil. Low islands are reefs or atolls, and are relatively small and infertile. Melanesia, the most populous of the three regions, contains mainly high islands, while most of Micronesia and Polynesia are low islands.

In addition, there are many other islands located within the boundaries of the Pacific Ocean that are not considered part of Oceania. These islands include the Galápagos Islands of Ecuador; the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, United States; Vancouver Island in Canada; the Russian islands of Sakhalin and Kuril Islands; Taiwan and other islands of the Republic of China; the Philippines; islands in the South China Sea, which includes the disputed South China Sea Islands; most of the islands of Indonesia; and the island nation of Japan, which comprises the Japanese Archipelago.

List of islands[edit]

This is a list of many of the major Pacific islands, organized by archipelago or political unit. In order to keep this list of moderate size, links are given to more complete lists for countries with large numbers of small or uninhabited islands.

Note: many Polynesian languages have a glottal stop, which in most of them is seldom written, however. If a name with a < ʻ > cannot be found, try to rewrite it without it. See 'okina for more info.

Newly found island: Makyleyla[citation needed]

Pacific islands by area (over 10,000 square kilometers)[edit]

Namearea (km2)country or countriespopulation
New Guinea785,753Indonesia & Papua New Guinea7,500,000
South Island145,836New Zealand1,038,600
North Island111,583New Zealand3,393,900
New Britain35,145Papua New Guinea513,926
Vancouver Island31,285Canada759,366
New Caledonia16,648France208,709
Viti Levu10,531Fiji600,000
Hawaii10,434United States of America185,079

See also[edit]

Pacific islands by continent[edit]



Central America[edit]

North America[edit]


South America[edit]

Islands of adjacent oceans[edit]


  1. ^ Collins Atlas of the World, Page 83